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Environmentalism and Economics

I’m reading a classic of environmentalism, Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World. It’s fairly left-leaning, and doesn’t have much good to say about economics. Mr. Ponting’s basic view of economics seems to be that it’s short-sighted and oblivious to the long-term damage of, for example, over-fishing.

In fact, every basic economics text deals with just this problem: it’s called the tragedy of the commons.

The problem may or may not be inadequate government regulation. It could also be a lack of property rights. But in any case, it’s not caused by classical economics, and economics has plenty of useful things to say about how to solve this problem.

I’ll probably show this video in Microeconomics class next semester, for example:


  1. Kenneth
    July 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    There is the book written by Garrett Hardin, which had been chosen by our professor as the one we have to finish and draw a report on it. Anyway, it’s a great piece.

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